Craft Room Work Table Using File Cabinets

How to create a craft room work table using file cabinets.

Just as a recap here is what the side of the room looked like before…

Bloggers home office before decluttering

…it wasn’t bad, but I knew I could make it better.

Do you see the grey laminate file cabinets and the top that creates a desk?  This was left by the previous owner in an upstairs closet that they had made into a hideaway office. We didn’t need it so I brought it to my studioffice to set up as a sewing table.

Once I found out how wonderful it was to have a larger flat surface to work at while sitting down, I dreamed bigger and that is what I did. I doubled the size of the original desk by buying one more file cabinet and a piece of plywood that was the same size and thickness as the grey laminate desktop.

The metal file cabinets that I had chalk painted a few years ago that are to the right in the photo I gave to the thrift store. I also donated the IKEA Billy shelving units and many of the books on them to make more space for what I really needed – a large work table to sit at.


Bloggers home office after decluttering

Before I started the desk makeover I painted the off-white grasscloth walls in the room to white. I used Sherwin Williams Pure White 7005 in an eggshell finish.

The pink cowhide fabric (Udder Madness) on the chair is from the round tablecloth I made to cover my rickety old sewing machine cabinet in my previous house. It was from, but is no longer available in pink. :-(   You can see I also used it to make a cover for my sewing machine on the far end of the work table.

I even posted about how I covered a tissue box with pink gift wrap that is by the lamp.

How I Made a Craft Room Work Table Using File Cabinets

supplies needed:

  • 3 file cabinets that are all the same height
  • Two 3/4″ thick oak/maple/or poplar plywood boards – I had one existing grey laminate desktop, but had the other cut to the same size of the desktop so I would have 2 identically sized pieces:  26-1/2″ x 5′ – 0″  Optional: Use hollow core doors as your work table top
  • Band-It Veneer Edging  3/4″ Birch Iron-On
  • Band-It Trimmer or sharp craft knife
  • Waverly Inspirations Chalk paint in White
  • Minwax Polycrylic in Satin
  • Giani Countertop paint – Top Coat Polyurethane Sealer – it is water-based and non-yellowing
  • Baseboard and shoe molding
  • Liquid Nails
  • Paint brush and small foam roller
  • Sandpaper
  • Iron
  • Optional: Gold spray paint for file drawer pulls
How to make a large work table for a craft room or home office

I started with the file cabinets #1 and #2 and the desktop #3. I did an online search to find file cabinet #4. It had to be the same height as the existing file cabinets.  I had a piece of 3/4″ maple plywood that has a smooth surface, cut at Lowes to the same size as the existing grey laminate desktop.

Anna Griffin 3 Drawer File Cainet in white that is 28.25 inches high

I found this Anna Griffin 3 Drawer File Cabinet in white on Amazon. It was 28.25″ high that matched the height of the two existing file cabinets I had.  Placed in the middle it adds interest to the worktable.

how to use Band-it veneer on plywood edges

The new Anna Griffen cabinet was slightly off-white and the inside a pale yellow. Since I was painting the existing grey file cabinets white, I painted this using the same white paint also.

How to use Band-It veneer edging on plywood edges when building furntiure

I have shown how to finish the raw edge of plywood or particle board before using the very nifty invention of iron-on edging. Yep, you press it on with your clothes iron.

How to make a large work table for a craft room or home office

See the rough edge?

How to make a large work table for a craft room or home office

The Band-It edging sticks right to it.  You line it up and press it on making sure the top edge is even. If the edging is wider than the plywood, no problem…

How to use finish the raw edge on plywood before painting or staining

…as you simply run the Band-It trimmer along the edge and it trims away any excess.  You can also trim the excess with a sharp craft knife.

Step-by-Step: How to Use Band-It Edging and Trimmer

How to add wood veneer to the raw edge of plywood or particle board

1. Use a rag to dust off the rough edges of your boards.

2. Heat up your clothes iron. Lay the veneer along the edge and simply press it on with the hot iron.  E-Z!

3. Presto-chango!  No more rough edge.

4. If the height of the veneer is more than the height of the edge of the board, simply run a knife along the edge to trim the excess veneer or use the handy little edge trimmer.

How to add baseboard molding

To finish off the bottom of the grey laminate file cabinets, I used my miter saw to cut baseboard and shoe molding. I glued it on with Liquid Nails.

Once I had all the wood trim on, I painted everything with Waverly Inspirations chalk paint in White. I usually make my own chalk paint when I want a custom color, but when using white, you can’t go wrong with using the Waverly brand since it works so well and is super affordable, plus you can buy it in small quantities.

Since I was painting over laminate and the smooth finish on the new file cabinet, I went over all the file cabinets with 100 grit sandpaper to provide some tooth to the smooth surfaces. I cleaned the sanding grit off and then I brushed on two light coats of the white chalk paint, letting the first coat dry, before adding the second. Once the paint was dry, I brushed on a coat of Minwax Polycrylic over the chalk paint on the file cabinets.

How to Make the Work Table Top

For the work table top: I used leftover polyurethane from the Giani Countertop painting kit I used for sealing my painted kitchen counters. I rolled on two light coats, letting the first coat dry for 4 hours before applying the second.

How to Paint Drawer Pulls the Easy Way

Tip for spray painting metal cabinet pulls and knobs

The last thing I needed to do was to paint the existing silver file cabinet drawer pulls to gold.  Here is how I did it.

  1. Sand the pulls with 100 grit sandpaper to provide some tooth. Clean off sanding grit and make sure they are free of oils and dirt.
  2. Find a block of styrofoam from appliance packaging.  (I save the styrofoam when I get new appliances and stuff that is shipped in boxes) Place a piece of plastic wrap around it tightly and secure with tape on the bottom (I didn’t do this, but should have. If you don’t, foam may get on the bottom of the pulls.) and place toothpicks in the foam the width of the screws holes.
  3. Place the pulls or knobs over the toothpicks.
  1. Spray the knobs with one light coat. Wait about 3-5 minutes and then spray a second coat. If they need another coat, wait another few minutes and then spray on another light coat. Let sit until dry. Do all spraying within the first hour. If you spray a coat on after an hour, the paint will end up wrinkling.
  2. Once dry, apply a light coat of Minwax Polycrylic. I only had the brush-on formula, but it does come in a spray can. 

The nice thing about the block of foam is that you can hold it up easily to get the spray paint to the hard to reach areas under the pulls.

Bloggers craft room tours

Now I have a few work stations around my craft room to different types of work and crafty projects.

Craft room decorating and organizing ideas

Now I have to work on doing something to make those pesky electrical cords disappear. :-)

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Craft room work table DIY. Decorating and organizing ideas for craft rooms and home offices.

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  2. can hardly wait to try some of these ideas….thanks

  3. Genius idea for spray painting the drawer pulls. Well done.

  4. Your study/craft room is gorgeous. Pink is one of my favorite colors and it goes so well with white. I know you will enjoy all the new space that you created.

  5. Melissa Leach says:

    Cannot wait to see your solution to the pesky cords. I strongly dislike seeing all those cords.
    Great post!

  6. I noticed you posted you used Sherwin Williams instead of the Glidden, I am using the Glidden and didn’t know if there was a reason, I had always used Sherwin Williams but, I used the Glidden this time around after your post with your kitchen I t.hink you used the Glidden

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Lou – I used up the remainder of the Sherwin Williams paint I had leftover from painting my kitchen cabinets. I like their Pro Classic since it self levels – no brush strokes in the finish. It is double the price of Glidden. I used Glidden Complete on all the wood trim in my house which included the window trim around the kitchen window. It is a one step bond, stain block and paint. I used Glidden Diamond on the walls in my powder room. One coat coverage over wallpaper. I loved it! I also used Glidden on the walls and trim in my bedroom.

  7. Alina Simmons says:

    Nice piece of work. Great tutorial, it’s giving a fresh look to the room. I really liked this :)

  8. Diane Donofrio says:

    You can get wire cord strips at Ikea…They are not only white but designed to blend in with the floor molding…..also…how about a little bit of white caulk to hide that seem down the middle of the work surface? These minor touches will give you that touch of detail that you love and enjoy….also…you could get some veneer, and use it to put over those three drawers that have different drawer pulls…paint the front white, and then get 3 more matching pulls sprayed in the copper finish…this way that cabinet will coordinate with the other two, instead of being the odd man out…

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Diane – Are you referring to the UPPLEVA cable cover strips or is there another style? I used to live very close to an IKEA. The closest to me now is 2 hours away.:-( I have to do all my IKEA shopping online now. Thanks for sharing your ideas too. I like the mix and match feel the center file cabinet gives to the overall table, that and its styling adds a little bit of femininity to the table.

      1. Diane Donofrio says:

        Hi Diane…The cable management strips from Ikea I believe are called Montera…they even show a photo how it blends in with the base molding….I believe you can order them online…..looks like your having a lot of fun in your new lake house home…creating such a beautiful and bright filled space for your work environment….when your work environment inspires you, every day is an inspiration!

        1. Diane Donofrio says:

          Just in case you have trouble getting them to where you live…I believe Home Depot carries white cable strip covers as well…

  9. Are you concerned the polyurethane will yellow over time? I have read this is one of the reasons to use water- based polycrylic? Looking forward to the cord solution. Mine seem to multiply overnight!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Hannah – The Giani polyurethane I used is water based. It is just like Polycrylic.

  10. I wish I had known you were giving away your Billy bookcases. Right now I’m redoing my bedroom and plan to use 2 of them on either side of my bed and would have bought them from you! Oh well, a trip to Ikea is always fun. I love your new desk.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Beth – The Billy’s went to a local church thrift store where they use the donations to furnish homes for those in need. They were over 25 years old with no backs. They crumbled from age when we moved. :-)

  11. Stunning! Great idea for a long work table….an idea I’ll probably steal!

    Btw, the green and white striped cover on the office chair you covered in pink…would you be willing to sell it? I am not good with sewing! Lol

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Carolyn – I still have the previous chair cover. I made it from a small throw rug. What is the width of your chair back?

  12. Love it!!
    Did the file cabinets have wood trim on the bottoms of them previously?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Kat – The file cabinets did not have any wood trim on them when we removed them from the closet. I do think though that at one time they must of had rubber baseboard that is used sometimes on laminate pieces. You can see the un-laminated area where the exposed particle board is. That must of had something on it at sometime in its history.

  13. Pam Cates says:

    The work table is absolutely darling and doable! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Pam :-)

  14. mary heicher says:

    You always have the best ideas :)

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Mary You are the best reader a blogger could ever ask for. :-)

  15. Everything you touch turns out beautiful. What a fantastic craft room/office. LOVE IT!

  16. Cynthia Kuenzi says:

    Super! I don’t understand what you did to the plywood top. How did you get the paint on the plywood top to be smooth? Did you use the Waverly Inspirations chalk paint and then I guess you sealed it all with the left over Giani polyurethane. I don’t see any of the plywood texture. I love your blog!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Cynthia – The reason there is no texture on the plywood is that I used high quality plywood. I think it is either maple or oak. It is more expensive then regular plywood, but worth it when making furniture with. It also won’t warp since it is a thick 3/4″ piece. If you head down the plywood aisle at the home improvement store you will see the difference in the $15 sheet and the $40 sheet of plywood. I lightly sanded the top, rolled on chalk paint and then rolled on the Giani poly. You could also use a primer, latex paint and poly to finish the top. I used the Giani since I had a lot left.

  17. What a happy, inspiring room! Well done!

  18. Carla from Kansas says:

    Love everything about this room, Diane!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Carla – Thanks

  19. Barbara Mirch says:

    Wow! This is absolutely gorgeous. I love the white! The pink added is great and you can easily change that color up anytime you want. Nice job!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Barbara – That is one reason I like decorating with white, I can change the colors of the furniture and accessories easily and everything still coordinates.

      1. Barbara Mirch says:

        Love it! I’m going white.